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U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney holds a grassroots events on jobs and the economy in Kirkwood Park in Kirkwood, Missouri, March 13, 2012.
It'll take more than a pair of jeans to make Mitt Romney seem like a man of the people.
To win the must-win state of Ohio, Mitt Romney needs to flip a lot of votes that went to Barack Obama in 2008. So far, poll after poll finds him failing to do that. The Atlantic's Molly Ball went to Ohio coal country and reports that, while white working-class suspicion of Obama is real, many of those same people are even more suspicious of Romney the plutocrat:
"I think Obama's more for the regular working class people, and Romney's for the big business and the well-to-do," said Eric Burkhead, the road and cemetery superintendent for Kirkwood Township, working on a truck in the gravel driveway of the local garage. The 66-year-old didn't like what he saw happening with coal and wasn't wild about Obamacare, but he planned to vote for Obama.

I heard it over and over again from Ohioans -- the idea that Romney stands for the wealthy and not for them. Obama's depiction of his rival as an out-of-touch rich guy, which has gotten no little assistance from Romney himself, has made a deep and effective impression with these self-consciously working-class voters.

Romney's so out of touch on this front that he apparently doesn't even understand what the problem is:
“It’s difficult for him to understand why people would think of him not understanding their daily travails because of his enormous wealth,” said Douglas Gross, who chaired Romney’s 2008 campaign in Iowa but is not involved with his campaign now. Romney perceives that he’s “lived his own life in a way that’s not extravagant, [and so] he doesn’t understand why people wouldn’t think he understands their pain.”

Gross recalls confronting Romney directly on this gulf in their first meeting. “I asked him, ‘You’re an incredibly successful guy and can you relate to average folks in the cafes of Iowa?’ and he found that question insulting and refused to answer it. To me, that’s the microcosm of the problem.”

It's not just a matter of being able to shoot the shit and pretend you get it, either. Romney doesn't get that having spent his career and made his millions shipping good jobs overseas and creating low-wage jobs here in the U.S. might make people question his commitment to creating jobs—let alone jobs that can support a family. And by and large, voters aren't as stupid as Romney thinks they are and needs them to be.

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